A Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen franchisee violated the age discrimination law when it refused to hire veteran applicants at its Coatesville, Pennsylvania restaurant because of their ages, according to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Attorneys for the EEOC allege that during an interview for a cashier/cook position, the general manager asked Lula Wright-Hill, then age 54, her age and said the she was “too old” to work at the restaurant. The general manager allegedly made a similar age inquiry when Kevin Bryant, then age 58, applied for a vacant cook position and told Bryant the restaurant was not hiring. A Department of Veterans Affairs vocational counselor referred these two prospective employees and other veterans to the Popeye’s position. The EEOC said that the general manager told a vocational counselor not to bring him older applicants because “They don’t work hard for me. They get tired easily.”
The EEOC’s age discrimination lawsuit also alleged that when Leroy Keasley, then age 40, applied for a shift manager position, the general manager also asked Keasley his age and told him that he was “too old” to work for the restaurant. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes it illegal to discriminate against individuals 40 or older on the basis of age. The EEOC filed the age discrimination lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania after attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
“It’s absurd that [the applicants] were well able to serve our country in the military, but then when they sought to return to the civilian workforce, were wrongfully deemed too old to cook or serve chicken by Popeyes general manager,” said EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. “The age discrimination laws ensure that older workers are not deprived of the right to earn a living due to outdated prejudices and biases.”